Mother nature has blessed us with another snow storm! Thank you Cofisher for doing your snow dance!
I have decided to think about trips past and anticipate future trips and clean and inspect my gear. I am by no means a techno-fly fisherman - my phrase for the fisherman that has the latest, greatest everything. My gear is humble (read cheap) and it works for me. Every winter I tie flies, reminisce about past trips and somehow believe that if I keep inspecting my fly fishing gear, spring will get the hint and bless us with her presence. This is part one of a two part post intended to get you messing with your gear and counting down the days to get on the water. Those of you that have water that you can still fish I am envious.
Boots: I just retired my faithful LL Bean guide boots and have a pair of Simms guide boots. So far, the boots receive high marks from me. I check the soles, the boot liners for wear spots on my waders, and inspect the laces. I remove any burs on the speed lace clips to increase the life of the laces. Always have a spare set of laces. Don't forget to rinse off those boots and make sure they dry thoroughly.
Waders: Last year, I put my waders out to dry over the back of a chair in my backyard. If you have ever worn a pair of Hodgman Wadelite waders, you know there is a small mesh bag in the front of the waders for small items. For me it was the perfect place to put sunflower seeds. I forgot I had seeds in the pocket; however, the squirrels didn't. I now fish with the reminder that food items need to be taken out of your gear after each trip regardless of what it is. I turn my waders inside out, wash them with warm fresh water and check all the seams. I check the outside of the waders for wear marks and try to determine what is causing the wear and how I can reduce the friction. I check each seam and all the zippers, draw strings, and buckles. Repair any that are damaged now or deal with Mr. Murphy when he comes fishing with you. Remember to dry the inside and the outside of your waders after each trip keep them from baking in direct sun. Carry a couple of pieces of duct tape with you for a quick fix to prevent a disastrous trip. I have not used any of the UV repair products out on the market; however, I have heard great things about the ease and durability of wading repairs using them. Cameron Mortenson, www.thefiberglassmanifesto.com has an awesome post demonstrating a Loon Product UV repair system - check it out!
Rods: I prefer St. Croix rods and as most of you know, I am developing a passion for my Tenkara rods. Besides the check of the grips, reel seats, ferrule, and overall condition of the rod, I check the inside of the eyelets to make sure there are no burs that will damage the fly line. I use a small piece of microfiber cloth used for computer or eyeglass cleaning that I slip through the eyelets. If the cloth snags, depending on the eye material, I fix the bur. I check my rod containers and holders for damage, snagged flies and the wonderful collection of leader that finds its way everywhere. I fish a Tenkara Iwana rod. I check each section for wear and make sure each section is clean. I check the end cap of the rod to ensure that it is tight and does not get lost. I would recommend you check the end cap frequently as you are fishing. Finally, I inspect the rod case to make sure there is no damage.
Reels: I fish Scientific Angler Reels, when I am using one, spend extra time on my reels. I inspect each reel and repair any damage and tighten any pieces that have worked themselves loose. I removed each spool and clean around the drag system. Inevitably sand, dust and dirt find their behind the spools. I replace the lubricant and test the drag system before the reel is re-spooled. I try hard to keep my reels out of the dirt; however, the water is another story. The Tenkara does not have one so don't sweat it.
Part 2 we will look at the leaders, lines, and the rest of the stuff that fills the pockets on those vests, bags, lanyards and fanny packs.
It is amazing how much stuff you purchase and carry around with you yet, you don't use. As the scout motto says, "Be Prepared", ya just never know. As the snow continues to fall, play with your stuff and keep wish'in for spring!